Ways To Warm Your House Cooking Style

Since it’s been so cold outside lately, I’ve found myself really craving carbs, is that weird?  I crave carbs a lot, so maybe it has nothing to do with the temperature outside.  I’ve not had great success with yeast in the past but over the last year I’ve mastered my pizza dough, which is wonderful considering I now make pizza once a week, Eric’s obsessed!  I figured since I got one dough under my belt I could try other yeast recipes.  I’ll admit, it has not been full of great outcomes, until recently.  Obviously when working with yeast you have to be careful not to “kill” it with too hot water and even worry about not activating it with too cold water.  I also read that if you feed the yeast with sugar wait until it blooms before adding salt, because adding salt too early will stop the yeast activation process.  Crazy fascinating stuff yeast is.

A few weeks ago while on Pinterest I came across a pretty simple dinner roll recipe.  Of course I was hesitant about making it because I always end up with hockey pucks.  I forgot what we had for dinner that night, but I thought we needed rolls.  The end result of these rolls was absolutely amazing, I probably ate like 5 and could have finished the whole lot of them if I didn’t have anything else to eat.  I’d even go as far as to say these are pretty much the best rolls ever, and basically foolproof.   How perfect these would be on Thanksgiving…I’m just sayin’

Yeast Rolls (tasteofhome.com)


2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water (120° to 130°)
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt


In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and 2 tablespoons butter; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 13 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bake 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine honey, garlic salt and remaining butter; brush over rolls. Remove from pan to wire rack. Yield: 13 rolls.

photo 1 (2)

Verdict: Perfect, fluffy, not hockey puck like at all.  Granted I need to work on my ball rolling skills, but I think they look more rustic.  My mom won’t let me make these for Thanksgiving, I’d be in her way too much (which is true) but one day soon these will be part of our dinner spread.  If you make them, I hope they come out as delicious as they did for me 🙂

Ok, so we’ve covered savory bread, now lets talk about the sweet stuff.  I don’t know about you, but I love sweet, sugary breakfast items.  My top two favorite breakfast items are chocolate chip pancakes and cinnamon rolls.  I used to cheat when I made cinnamon rolls and by pre-make dough loaves, thaw them out, roll them out, fill them, slice and bake them. They were always good, but I get more satisfaction in making everything myself.   Yesterday I tackled a new recipe from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (you probably have it, it’s the red and white plaid one).

Cinnamon Rolls (for a crowd, or really hungry people) – Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook


4 – 4 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 package  active dry yeast
1 cup  milk
1/3 cup  sugar
1/3 cup  butter
1/2 teaspoon  salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons  butter, melted
1/2 cup  sugar
2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon (I actually used Pumpkin Pie Spice)
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (I used a basic cream cheese frosting, I’d use it again, it was amazing)

*I also added walnuts, I probably wouldn’t do that again, I realized I don’t like nuts in my cinnamon rolls


 In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1/3 cup butter, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees F.) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 9×1-1/2-inch round baking pans.

Roll each portion of the dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Brush the 3 tablespoons melted butter over dough. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough. Roll up into a spiral, starting from a long side. Seal seam. Slice each roll into 12 equal pieces. Place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 30 minutes).

Bake in 375 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly; remove from pans. Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Icing or cream cheese frosting. serve warm. Makes 24 rolls.photo 2 (1)

Verdict: I realized pretty quick that I probably needed at least 3 more people in the house to eat these, the two of us can only eat so many, but they were so good. I was hesitant about refrigerating them overnight, I didn’t want them to dry out, so I just covered them and left the out.  Today I warmed them up in the microwave, they were just as good.  I’d make this again for company for sure!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday Surprises and A Quick Fix Meal

I don’t know anyone that loves Monday’s, well unless it happens to be a three day weekend. I had a pretty bad case of the “Monday’s” yesterday, all stemming from feeling pretty crummy from a huge allergy flare up, so when I came home last night and noticed a huge package on my doorstep, I was instantly in a better mood, considering it was addressed to me. I opened it up and to my surprise there were three cookbooks and a letter stating that I had won a recipe contest through Tastebook.com and these cookbooks were part of the prize, another cookbook personalized by Felicity Hoffman (of Desperate Housewives fame) would be on its way.  Pretty sweet deal since I’m obsessed with cookbooks and two of the three were actually on my Christmas wish list.   An added bonus was that they all met my cookbook criteria for having at least five recipes I’d try out, this being said I will be keeping all three 🙂

For those who don’t know about TasteBook, I suggest you take a look sometime.  I discovered this site a few years ago while I was trying to sort through and organize my recipes.  I have horrible handwriting so anything that I can have printed is pretty much fine with me.  My first cookbook I made was for one of my best friends for her bridal shower, in fact because of the book I gave them I received one for my shower.   I liked the idea of creating a personalized book that can be added to over time.  Plus you can choose your own cover and add pictures of food as well.  I think I have over 200 recipes on this site and am always adding them to my different book projects.  The site is very user-friendly as well.  So if you’re stuck on figuring out a cool gift for someone now that the holiday’s are coming up, take a look at Tastebook, maybe make a cookbook full of you traditional family recipes for those you love.  BTW, Tastebook didn’t tell me to give them a shout out, they’re just that awesome that I want everyone to know.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve cooked dinner.  My mom was visiting us for a few weeks and I have to say having her cook every night was nice.  Last night the last thing I wanted to do was cook but we found this really fast and easy dinner on Hillshirefarm.com , of course I modified it a bit with things I had in the fridge already and didn’t want to go to waste.

Smoked Sausage Gnocchi with Sun Dried Tomatoes
(adapted from hillshirefarm.com-they have awesome looking recipes, take a look)


1 lb. gnocchi (surprisingly enough I found frozen gnocchi from a store brand, it was fab)

1 pkg. any flavor of sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices (I used Hillshire Farms low-fat turkey sausage)

1/4 cup julienne sun-dried tomatoes in oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup of caramelized onions (optional, my addition)

4 cups baby spinach (one bag is perfect)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I also added a handful of a 6 Italian cheese mix I had)


Prepare gnocchi according to directions; before draining, reserve about a cup of pasta water; drain and keep warm.

Heat oil a large skillet over medium-high, stir in sausage, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and onions, heat 5 minutes or until sausage is lightly browned.

Stir in spinach with sausage mixture, when it starts to wilt toss in gnocchi; heat through. If using additional cheese, stir in and add a few tablespoons of pasta water to create a sauce.  Stir to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; serve immediately.


Verdict: I’m not sure if this meal took 15 mins, but it was pretty darn fast.  I’d definitely make this again, maybe even without the sausage.   Eric wanted to put red sauce on his, because he loves red sauce.  I’d think it was too many flavors going on, so I’d say use your own judgement.  It definitely was flavorful and delicious as is.   I had to put some aside for my lunch because I knew if I didn’t, there wouldn’t be any left!

Not sure what’s for dinner tonight, it’s Eric’s turn to cook…I’m pretty confident it will be yummy.